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Picasso's Playground
Project info

Children and youth inspire my spirit and are the subject of many of the images that I have captured both locally and in my travels. This comes as no surprise to those who know me as I have been a life-long children’s advocate whose professional career has focused on protecting and promoting the rights of children, working to keep their spirits free. These photos celebrate children engaged with one of Chicago’s most famous public art icons viewed out of my 10th floor office window overlooking Chicago's Daley Plaza. Drawn to the interplay of changing color and light on the Sculpture over the course of my 8-hour day, I was captivated by the children's spontaneous movements. I recall the ridicule adults directed towards the Picasso sculpture when it was unveiled in 1967. Yet the children approach the Picasso sculpture as a playground on which to exercise their initiative, determination, confidence, and courage as well as their muscles as they climb and explore, motivated only by the present moment. Children enjoy the aesthetic form which serves their instincts to play as they explore upwards and through the panels. The children’s free movements stand in sharp contrast to most of the adults that I observe in the same setting who stand or sit stiffly at the base, bringing to mind a quote of Pablo Picasso’s: Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” In a city known for its segregated housing patterns, these photos illustrate how public art located in the center of a city can serve as a meeting place for children of all racial and ethnic groups, all genders, religions and economic levels engaged in integrated play on an equal playing field. If we will listen, the children shall lead us……